Filing for Child Custody the Right Way — All U.S. States

Filing custody paperwork begins legal action

To get your child custody case started, you have to file the proper forms. Filing is turning documents in to the court clerk to present relevant information.

Custody X Change is software that makes parenting plans and schedules to file with the court.

Yes, I Want to Make My Schedule and Plan Now

Steps to filing child custody forms

If you've hired an attorney, he or she will take care of opening a case. If you're opening a case pro se (representing yourself), you're responsible for filing.

Follow these steps to file for child custody in your state:

  1. Speak with an attorney. While you're not required to have an attorney, it's a good idea to at least consult with one.
  2. Know the law. Take the time to research custody laws and procedures in your state. Write down any questions you have.
  3. Access forms online. Many states now make their custody forms available online, including the ones necessary to open a case.
  4. Complete the forms. Make sure you fill the documents in accurately and completely. Direct any questions to an attorney or your court clerk.
  5. File the forms. Turn the paperwork, along with the filing fee, in to the court clerk at your local family court. You'll be notified of the next step in your case.

Filing information by state and district

Always contact your court to learn about any local rules or processes. Select your state for localized information.

Alabama Hawaii Massachusetts New Mexico South Dakota
Alaska Idaho Michigan New York Tennessee
Arizona Illinois Minnesota North Carolina Texas
Arkansas Indiana Mississippi North Dakota Utah
California Iowa Missouri Ohio Vermont
Colorado Kansas Montana Oklahoma Virginia
Connecticut Kentucky Nebraska Oregon Washington
Delaware Louisiana Nevada Pennsylvania West Virginia
Florida Maine New Hampshire Rhode Island Wisconsin
Georgia Maryland New Jersey South Carolina Wyoming

Using technology to help you file

The Custody X Change app can help you complete many items necessary for your case.

Use the app to create a detailed parenting plan and visitation schedule. It can also quickly calculate parenting time percentages and overnight visits for use in child support formulas.

Use Custody X Change to print or share whatever you need, letting you deliver professional-quality documents to the other parent, attorneys and the court.

Custody X Change is software that makes parenting plans and schedules to file with the court.

Yes, I Want to Make My Schedule and Plan Now

Custody X Change is software that makes parenting plans and schedules to file with the court.

Yes, I Want to Make My Schedule and Plan Now
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Custody X Change is software that makes parenting plans and schedules to file with the court.

Yes, I Want to Make My Schedule and Plan Now

No thanks, I don't need a parenting plan